Hot Cross Buns

Gluten-free hot cross buns that are delicious sliced, toasted and spread with butter.

This gluten-free hot cross bun recipe took a bit of time to perfect. In fact, last Easter I didn't manage to get a decent hot cross bun at all. They were always too hard and dry. This year I've been experimenting with using psyllium husk and dried active yeast, rather than the sachet of easy bake yeast. After 4 attempts and lots of recipe tweaking I have finally managed to write a yummy hot cross bun recipe.

I think part of the reason for the success of the buns is allowing a slow rise in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or longer if you prefer). Then you shape the buns and allow them to come to room temperature for an hour before baking. I use a stand mixer to mix the dough really well.

They are best eaten the same day or frozen and then defrosted as required.

Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

Tasty gluten-free hot cross buns


Makes 6 large buns:

  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1¼ tsp dried active yeast
  • 100ml warm water
  • 150g dried fruit
  • 1tsp cider vinegar
  • 100ml hot water
  • 50g butter
  • 100g rice flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g buckwheat flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 50g tapioca flour
  • 50g potato flour
  • 2 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ginger

For the cross:

  • 50g rice flour
  • 4 tbsp cold water

For the sugar glaze:

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp boiling water


  • First prepare the yeast by dissolving the caster sugar in 100ml warm water. Then whisk in the yeast and allow to stand in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until there is about 2cm of foam on top.
  • Meanwhile place the dried fruit in a shallow dish and cover with 100ml hot water and the cider vinegar and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Melt the butter and allow to cool.
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the egg, milk, butter, soaked raisins together with the soaking liquid and the yeast mixture.
  • Combine well and beat in mixer for around 3-4 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with clingfilm and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You will find the mixture will rise slightly and will become more solid.
  • Split the dough into 6 equal portions and using wet hands form into bun shapes.
  • Place on a non-stick baking tray and leave at room temperature for around an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.
  • To make the cross, mix the rice flour with 1 tbsp cold water at a time to form a thick paste.
  • Make a piping bag using a triangle of greaseproof paper.
  • Fill with the paste mixture and pipe into cross shapes on the buns.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Mix 1 tbsp sugar with 2 tbsp boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Brush over the buns while still warm.
  • Allow to cool in the tin.
  • To serve, slice in half and toast.

Dried active yeast is different from the easy bake/fast action yeast I have been using in my other bread recipes. I read that you sometimes got a better, more even rise with dried active yeast and so I thought I would give it a go. You usually buy it in a small cylindrical tin. It has instructions on the tin to tell you have to activate or proof the yeast before cooking. When you are proofing the yeast make sure the water is warm, not hot. If you used hot water you will kill the yeast. Instant yeast can be added directly to your recipe and doesn't need activating before you add it.

You can use a dried fruit mix with mixed peel or add your favourite dried fruits. I use sultanas, raisins and chopped apricots. Soaking the fruit in hot water makes them really moist.

Psyllium husk is an ingredient that lots of gluten-free bakers are using in place of xantham gum. It helps with binding and texture. It seems to absorb lots of moisture and I like it in this recipe as it helps make the dough stiff enough so that it can easily be shaped into buns. Most health food shops sell it or you can buy it online.

Although buckwheat flour is gluten free, make sure your packet is gluten free. Some manufacturers say theirs is not gluten-free due to cross-contamination.